26 December 1986* (2521‑Ch) Pardons

KGB report (Chebrikov). Proposal to issue State pardons for special categories of criminals [dissidents] on condition that they cease their “anti-Soviet” activities [Russian: 26 Dec 86, 2522-Ch] (6 pp) excerpts.


[page one of six]

Top Secret

26 December 1986, No 2521-Ch

To the CPSU Central Committee

Freeing certain categories of individual from criminal responsibility and from serving their sentence

In recent years we have halted the hostile activities of a number of individuals committing crimes covered by Articles 70 (anti-Soviet Agitation and Propaganda) and 190-1 (the circulating of knowingly false fabrications, which defame the Soviet political and social system) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic and corresponding articles in the criminal codes of other Union Republics.

Their prosecution for criminal offences together with the application of other State-prophylactic measures [Note 1] has enabled us to disrupt the plans of the imperialist States’ special services to create an anti-Soviet underground in the USSR. … we have successfully paralysed the illegal activities of the organisers, mentors and active participants of illegal groups: the Helsinki Groups, the Free Trade Unions, the Russian section of Amnesty International, the Political Prisoners’ Fund and other groups that the Adversary regarded as “forces capable of leading to a change in the existing State and social system of the USSR”.


[page two]

… Over the period from 1982 to 1986 more than 100 people agreed to discontinue their unlawful activities and took the path to reformation. Some of them … spoke on television and issued public statements in newspapers, exposing the Western special services and their former fellow conspirators.

In 1986, after submissions from the KGB, the Procuracy and the courts, the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet and the Presidia of the Supreme Soviets of the Union Republics freed 24 persons from serving their sentence, and 4 others had sentences of imprisonment commuted to exile. The overwhelming majority of them understood the decisions taken towards them, with the exception of Ratushinskaya,


[page three]

who, after leaving for the West on private business, continues to make hostile statements.

At present 301 individuals are serving sentences for committing crimes under the above Articles and 23 are under investigation.

Our information shows that the changes in our society after the April [1985] Plenum of the CPSU Central Committee and the 27th Party Congress [1986] have influenced the thoughts and behaviour of some of those who were at one time under the influence of bourgeois propaganda and hostile elements, committed unlawful actions and were punished. Some of them have recognised the harm they did to the interests of society. Others are playing a waiting game. A number of individuals have not changed their anti-Soviet views….

[In these conditions, the authors suggested, certain people who had been charged or convicted of the above offences could be offered a pardon and released if they agreed to meet certain conditions.]

It could be suggested to persons in the above category that they should make a declaration to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet that they would not henceforth engage in hostile or other unlawful activities. On receiving that declaration, such individuals could be individually freed from imprisonment or prosecution by a pardon issued by the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet after submissions by the USSR Procuracy, the USSR Supreme Court, the USSR Ministry of Justice and the USSR KGB….


[page four]

Not for release would be especially dangerous recidivists and individuals who continued to maintain clearly hostile positions and refuse to give written assurances that they would end their anti-social activities.

Such measures would permit those who have agreed not to continue their unlawful activities to take their place in society and, on the other hand, to identify those who earlier concealed the anti-Soviet nature of their efforts under the slogan of a struggle for “democratisation” and “human rights “.

Adoption of a positive decision on this matter would be politically advantageous and once again emphasise the humanism of the Soviet regime. In implementing the said measures we may encounter backsliding and anti-social behaviour. That should not lead, in our view, to serious negative consequences. […]


[page five]

A draft Resolution of the CPSU Central Committee is attached.

V. Chebrikov

A. Rekunkov

V. Terebilov

B. Kravtsov  [2]


[page six – text of draft Decree]



[1] One of these measures was the prophylactic caution, proposed in November 1972 (see 31 October 1975*, 2743-A).

[2] Respectively, KGB chairman, Procurator-General, chairman of the USSR Supreme Court and Minister of Justice.


  • 1. Notes by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
  • 2. text written by hand is indicated in italic script;
  • 3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been added to a previously typed document this is indicated by underlined italic script.

Translation, JC

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